Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let’s Twitchange the World

By Andrea Kunicky

Twitchange, a digital auction house selling off celebrity Twitter presences for charity, is set to launch their second social good campaign on January 29th championed by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Twitchange gives fans the chance to bid on an opportunity to interact with their favorite celebrities on Twitter by having those celebrities follow, mention or retweet them.

A single auction will last around a month with all proceeds being donated to a charitable cause selected by the celebrity spokesperson. Polamalu was selected as this month’s spokesperson for his work with veteran issues. The auction will raise money for Operation Once in a Lifetime, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make dreams of U.S. Soldiers and their families come true by providing free financial and moral support to U.S Service members, their families and veterans regardless of rank, deployment, physical condition or branch or service.

The most recent campaign was spearheaded by “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria in which she supported the building of homes in Haiti. The campaign received more than 35 million hits, generated over $540,000, and collected support from hundreds of celebrities including Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Perez Hilton.

In the past, the campaign had shown beneficial results in raising money for a wonderful cause, but there is some controversy that has become prevalent with the introduction of Twitchange. Many are saying that the social good campaign is more so about the celebrity than it is the charity component.

“I think it’s the celebrity first and the charity second,” says Peter Panepento, assistant managing editor for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing but I think people need to recognize that it shouldn’t be a replacement for the other forms of charity.”

In the past, other celebrity campaigns weren’t as successful. The recent “Digital Death” campaign featuring celebrities silencing themselves on their social media accounts hoping to raise money for an AIDS charity flopped when they were not able to reach their $1 million goal. After only a few days, the amount raised was at $450,000 and the celebrities convinced a billionaire pharmaceutical executive to donate $500,000 so they could resume their social media habits.

When learning more about this, I believe the Twitchange campaign will continue to be a growing avenue for charities. If you are an individual who is passionate about the specific charity or just a fan who would like to get a comment from their favorite celebrity on Twitter - it should not matter. In the end, we are helping these charities grow to support their mission, programs and services and also to increase awareness to others that may not have discovered them yet. This is what truly matters and is certainly a winning situation for all involved.

Andrea Kunicky is an Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

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